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When is it ok to ignore customers?

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:11 PM by Harry Hawk   [ updated Sep 25, 2014, 3:59 PM ]

Would any CEO or CMO say, "Let's ignore our customers today!"?

It's not surprising that there are a lot of music, sports, and entertainment stars on Twitter. Here is something really odd: on Twitter when consumers attempt to engage with brands, the brands ignore them by mimicking pop star behavior.

Long line of customers
Photo credit: Stefano Giovannini (Brooklyn Daily 2012 #32)

You would be hard pressed to find a CEO, CMO, or CCO who advocates ignoring customers. Detachment, distance and aloofness work for pop stars but not for most consumer-oriented brands.

I have a short white paper first published by the Burger Business Blog that looks at how burger brands use Twitter. I look at some of the largest and smallest burger brands and compile some stats about how they communicate with consumers. What's true for burger brands is true for most others.

Only Texas chain Whataburger excels... they welcome two way communications with consumers, fans, and the general public. You can download my paper here (no signup/login required). There is also a chart that accompanies the paper which is found here (no signup/login required).

I'm not saying that every brand needs to publicly respond to every message, but more and more brands like airline KLM do. Southwest, United, and other airlines also have committed to communicating with their customers on Twitter.

I'd love to hear from you... what are the pros and cons of ignoring customers? Is there ever a "right time" to ignore them? Reach me here or @hhawk on twitter. Here is a link to the whole article as published on the Burger Business Blog.

Written by: Harry Hawk